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CADS Research Showcase Highlights 6 Groundbreaking Student/Faculty Research Projects

Students and faculty affiliated with Winston-Salem State University’s Center for Applied Data Science (CADS) presented their research on COVID-19, spatial justice, and other key topics during a virtual departmental showcase on April 6, 2021.

As part of WSSU’s Scholarship Week, the one-hour event featured oral presentations and Q&A sessions highlighting groundbreaking work occurring in partnership with CADS, which is supported by a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the UNC Research Opportunities Initiative. Sessions included 10-minute updates by undergraduate and graduate students and their faculty mentors.

“CADS is fortunate to work with very gifted students and faculty whose work has great relevance for our local community and the larger world,” said Dr. Debzani Deb, associate professor of computer science at WSSU and founding director of CADS. “By applying data science to a wide range of academic disciplines, we can accelerate progress in such areas as health care, well-being, and racial justice and equity.”

Dr. Deb, for example, mentored undergraduate students Hector Santiago and Gerry Myers on their investigation of the “Impact of COVID-19 in WSSU Vicinities.” This project analyzed COVID-19 case and death data in a six-county region surrounding WSSU, using machine-learning models to predict future trends for each of the counties and how they compare with statewide data.

Five other presentations presented during the showcase included:

  • “Exploring Spatial Inequalities in the State of North Carolina”: Undergraduate student Megh Poudyel, in tandem with faculty mentor Dr. Russell Smith, examined access to economic opportunity, healthy environments, and basic services to identify the features that promote equity and justice in all communities and help reverse the negative impacts of segregation.
  • “The Influence of Physician Patient-Centeredness on African American Male Cardiology Patients’ Experience of Care”: Graduate student Dr. Kiayia Propst and faculty mentor Dr. Steve Aragon, in an effort to foster great equity in healthcare, tested – and confirmed – the hypothesis that the overall patient-centeredness of cardiologists influences the care experienced by Black male cardiology patients.
  • “Analyzing WSSU Students’ Social Behavior on Twitter”: Undergraduate students Anthony Smith, Timothy Pittman, and Alexis Blount, with faculty mentors Dr. Jill Keith, Dr. Tennille Presley, and Dr. Muztaba Fuad, analyzed recent WSSU-related tweets with the goal of understanding the social behavior and mental health of WSSU students amid a global pandemic that has increased anxiety and depression among U.S. college students.
  • “Exploring the Impact of Inner Social Networking Factors on Cognitive Aging Through Predictive Analysis”: Graduate student John Milton and faculty mentor Dr. Deb, pairing regression analysis with publicly available data from the National Institutes on Aging, explored the ability to predictive cognitive impairment by examining individuals’ levels of social interaction.
  • “Use of Machine Learning in Predicting Discharge Planning in Acute Neurological Care”: This study, led by graduate student Charles Mickle and overseen by Dr. Deb, uses a machine-learning model that could potentially predict, within 24 hours of patients being admitted to intensive-care units, the types of care settings they should be directed to upon discharge to meet their health and social needs.

All of the CADS showcase sessions can be viewed here.

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